Virtual Learning Tools

The Virtual Learning Tools project is a cooperation between the Arctic Portal, University of the Arctic, APECS, ICR, SVS and Hsvest to create a virtual learning tool specifically designed for Northern residents. During this January a pilot course led by Phillip Burgess at the ICR will commence within the system, prior to a formal launch in June 2011.

Below is the Course announcement released by the University of the Arctic:

Climate variability, climate change and the societal/cultural transformations associated with globalization have been, and continue to be, responsible for major changes in the physical environment, the biota and the cultures of the indigenous and other communities in the Arctic.

Human-ecological systems in the Arctic are particularly sensitive to change, perhaps more than in virtually any other region. This is due in part to the variability of the Arctic climate and the livelihoods of Arctic peoples. Production systems of Arctic peoples in variable and unpredictable climates are based on the sequential utilization of, often, a large number of ecological or climatic niches. The essence of such systems is flexibility and the distribution of risk through diversity.

Understanding vulnerability requires assessment of systems’ ability to adapt to impact and the extent to which freedom to adapt is constrained. International law has established the right of indigenous people like reindeer herders to participate at all levels of decision making in issues that concern their rights, livelihoods and future, and it is therefore an issue to consider in discussing adaptation.

The course uses reindeer husbandry as a case based study for understanding rapid change in the Arctic. The cumulative impacts of climate change and globalisation on reindeer husbandry will be looked at and examined in terms of their impacts on the livelihood. Key drivers of change, vulnerability and adaptation will be identified and tools and barriers for adaptation for reindeer herders will assessed.

The course has been created in a joint collaboration between IPY EALÁT, the EALÁT UArctic Institute for Circumpolar Reindeer Husbandry, the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, the Sami University College, Kautokeino, Norway, the Thule Institute, the University of Oulu Finland and the UArctic.

This course is a following up of the ACIA Report to the Arctic Council and is a delivery from IPY EALAT # 399 consortium with its diverse activities from 2007 -2010 including workshops, lectures, seminars, speed talks, outreach and research activities which were all video recorded for teaching purposes.

The course development has been supported by the Nordic council of Ministers Arctic co-operation funding (2006-2009, Thematic Network on Global Change in the Arctic, 2009- 2011, Arctic Virtual Learning Tools).

Course is open for students registered in any of the University of Arctic member organizations ( There will be no pre selection to the course but 20 students will be accepted in the order of registration. Please note that for successful completion of the course, students will need to have sufficient English language reading, writing and comprehension skills.

Acceptance for the course with login and technical information will be emailed directly to students in December 2010. The course is hosted by the University of Oulu, Finland (Faculty of Humanities & Thule Institute).

The deadline for registration is December 10th, 2010 and enrollment and further information registration is only available online at

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